Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012 NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0

It's still really early but some free agency and a lot the pro days have taken place now .Here is how we see it happening as of today.This is not who we think they should take. It's who we think they will take. The name next to them is their NFL player comparison if they are a hit, followed by the reasons why we are giving them that player. Traded draft picks and the team they received it from are in parentheses. The recently completed trade at #2 is included. Peyton Manning made his decision .Other free agency moves and trades have been completed.That clears things up a bit more and makes and requires an update. Analysis and possible scenarios for each team follow.


1. INDY-ANDREW LUCK- STAN- NFL COMP-AARON RODGERS- GB-The next Peyton Manning? Nope ,he's 10 times the athlete but he's got that type of football IQ.He really is that good and is the closest thing to a can't miss I have ever seen from a college QB. The worse thing a scout can say about him is that he has a good arm, but not a great one.He can make every NFL throw . Both Luck and RG3 had their pro days this week and while both were excellent nothing has changed about this pick. Indy fans better hope Jim Irsay lets the football people run the show and keep the rebuilding process going in the right way, instead of screwing up the franchise trying to run it himself. Lets not forget Irsay tried to do it all before he hired the recently fired Bill Polian . Once Polian took over the football side of things he selected Manning and built that franchise around him. Indy has been blessed to have 2 once a decade QB's fall in their laps in a row. You would have to actively work at it to screw this up.

2. WASH-(stl)- ROBERT GRIFFIN III-BAYLOR-NFL COM- MIKE VICK-PHIL-Good GOD! They payed a lot for him, but if anyone else besides Luck is worth it , this is the kid. In every otheryear back to 1998 he would be our slam dunk as the #1 overall pick, except for 2 guys with the last name Manning.That's only because you never pass up a sure thing for a little higher upside.Model citizen, leader, and athlete. His arm and his personality are even better than Lucks to be the face of a franchise. Best deep ball in the draft and the Shannahan offense fits him to to a tee. Expect a lot of big plays on sprint outs and waggles skins fans.His stellar pro-day just confirms everything he has showed us about him. He is a franchise QB and now Washing ton will have one for the first time since the Joe Theisman.


3. MINN-MATT KALIL-OT-USC- NFL COMP-JAKE LONG-MIA-Christian Ponder is doing back flips and will probably pick him up at the airport with a hug so long it gets uncomfortable. Their LT play was atrocious last year and moving Charles Johnson inside where he belongs will help alleviate some of the sting of cutting future HOFer Steve Hutchinson. They also cut RG Anthony Herrera and brought in Geoff Schwartz from Carolina.That means 3 people on their O-line will be either new to the team, or in new positions to starts the year. So this pick is crucial to the rebuilding of their O-line. If AP isn't healed up when the season starts Kalil will have his work cut out for him, because they will have to pass a lot. We think Kalil is up to the challenge. Upside is just a smidgen less than Tyron Smith from last year but he's a more polished player coming out of college and should hold down the job for 8-12 years.

4.CLEV-JUSTIN BLACKMON-WR- OK. ST.-NFL COMP- HAKEEM NICKS- NYG- We now think that Cleveland won't reach for a QB and will instead try to punish the Rams for not trading the # 2 pick to them. Mike Holmgren's very public comments on how they didn't really have a chance, even though they had more to offer the Rams than the Redskins did smack of revenge to me. While it is true that the rams and the skins brain trust have a strong relationship we will never really now if that's true. We do know that Holmgren is butt hurt about the whole thing. The 2 players the rams want in order are Blackmon and Claiborne. Blackmon is a bigger need for the Browns, and since he is also the rams first choice ,we think they snag him and spite them at the same time. Given that recent high draft picks Greg Little and Mohammed Massaquoi still need time to develop we disagree with the pick. Blackmon is worth it but they really need a bell cow RB . Trent Richardson is the rare RB worth this pick to boot. Hell hath no fury like a GM scorned I guess.


5.TB-TRENT RICHARDSON-RB-ALA-NFL COMP-RICKY WILLIAMS-BALT-They finally spent a lot of money in free agency and have filled some big holes. Vincent Jackson takes care of receiver as a high priority. They signed the best Guard in football in Carl Nicks. They also overpayed gambling often injured CB Eric Wright to a big deal. That leaves RT,RB, and CB as major needs. #5 is probably too high For Riley Reiff. Ronde Barber is really old but he has now committed to coming back, despite having his worst season last year. Aqib Talib is one legal problem away from a suspension or jail. This draft has 8 elite players and they would be wise to take one. You need 3 or 4 CB's to play in the NFL now, so it should be Claiboirne in our opinion, but we think they will pass. The fact that they have virtually ignored the wealth of free agent RB talent makes us think it will now be Richardson. Especially since Legarrette Blount showed last year he is a fumbler ,a no show in the passing game, and doesn't know how to use his power till he gets to the 2nd level. Trent Richardson is a stud 3 down RB and his help in pass protection makes this even more likely.


6. STL-MORRIS CLAIBORNE-CB/KR-LSU-NFL COMP-CHAMP BAILEY-DENV - It should be WR, CB, or OT. They had been linked to RT Eric Winston in free agency which makes me think they still believe Roger Saffold is capable of playing LT. I guess it's possible as he is still only 2 years in. Blackmon is gone thanks to the previously mentioned "butthurtness" by Cleveland in this scenario.With the haul they got from Washington, Jeff Fisher as head coach, and a healthy Bradford, expect this team to build safely and be a contender in 2 years.Claiborne is also a good fit since Blackmon is gone in this scenario. This draft has 8 elite players and they would be wise to take one. You need 3 or 4 CB's to play in the NFL now, so Claiboirne it is. He plays CB like a WR and should be a day 1 starter.They added Cortland Finnegan in free agency so this pick gives them a savvy vet on one side and future stud on the other. If both Blackmon and Claiborne are gone, and they want value for their pick ,Steven Jackson has a lot of miles on his tires . He has also and has been hurt a lot. So Trent Richardson is an outside possibility. They have so many needs that if Blackmon and Claiborne are gone they may just trade back.


7. JAX-QUINTON COPLES-DE/DT-NC-NFL COMP- JULIUS PEPPERS-CHI-Luckily they resigned Jeremy Mincey but they need 2 starting caliber DE's and Aaron Kampmann is just about done .I would take Ingram but my guess is they will want more size. If Coples plays the way he's capable of, this is a steal.Eben Britton didn't play too well at RT and was moved to guard last we heard. They could address DE later in a draft deep for it.If by some miracle Justin Blackmon is here ,it's a lock . Laurent Robinson isn't a # 1 WR, but he he can be a solid 2 or good 3 if he's healthy.Failing that they are another team that might reach for Michael Floyd.Taking Dre Kirkpatrick or trading back might also be in the mix.

8.MIA-RYAN TANNEHILL-QB TEX A & M-NFL COMP-ALEX SMITH-SF-They lost out on Manning and definitely screwed the pooch with Flynn by chasing Peyton. Throw in the rumors that players are deliberately avoiding them because of their front office and owner. That means the draft is their best shot of building a contender and Tannehill is actually a good fit.
He's comparable to Luck athletically (with a stronger arm),but is about a season and a half behind as a QB, and it is hard to know where he will end up. If he is a hit this draft could end up being heralded a QB draft as good as 2004(Eli, Rivers, Big Ben).Miami still isn't set at QB,and even as raw as Tannehill is , they probably would start him over Matt Moore as soon as he's ready. It's a risks but there are solid reasons why he may even start the first game. Their new offensive coordinator was Tannehill's coach in college so he will know the offense better than Moore from the get go. While I think Tannehill would be a reach in the top 10 for any other team this just makes too much sense for Miami. If they pass on a QB, Miami had bad RT play last season from Mark Columbo. Vernon Carey's excellent career is on the downside and he is just an average guard now and can't move back outside. If they pull it out with Flynn this pick still makes the most sense. Kuechly would fit if Reiff is gone. Michael Floyd has an outside shot to go here because they traded Brandon Marshall and don't have a number one WR anymore. Melvin Ingram or another edge rusher is also a possibility.


9. CAR-DT-MICHAEL BROCKERS-DT-LSU-NFL COMP-JOHN HENDERSON-OAK- I would walk to the podium as soon as I could and take Decastro if he's there. It's hard to imagine him being picked already because people don't take guards in the top half of the 1rst round. He's special and Carolina has a big need there. Luke Kuechly would make sense considering the injury histories of Jon Beason and Thomas Davis . Plus MLB isn't seen as a top 10 pick position either. WR Michael Floyd's boom or bust potential would make them a team that takes a huge risk in back to back years, but Newton sure looks like a hit so far.After having no #1 in 2009 and 2010 they really need to replenish the roster with some safe players. They need to stop the run and Brockers already does that like a stud. He's only going to get better as a pass rusher and will probably keep getting stronger. He's not an elite athlete but he has a elite frame, and a good motor. High floor guy that fills a big need. If Coples falls here the home town connection alone may make this happen and it wouldn't be a reach if they trust his motor.


10. #BUFF-RILEY REIFF-OT-IOWA-NFL COMP-CHAD CLIFTON-GB - They need a LT if Demetrious Bell isn't resigned and he was hurt a lot last year to boot. We like Reiff better as a RT , at least early on, but he would better fit than the alternative. Last year they made do with a below average Chris Hairston and even forced stud guard Andy Levitre outside for a few games. Neither worked out, Moving Levitre out of his LG spot actually hurts 2 positions. Buffalo is in win now mode, evidenced by the the sick contract they just gave Mario Williams. They even signed Mark Anderson as a weak side end . Add that to a healthy Kyle Williams, a more experienced Marcel Dareus and their front 4 is sick. Since they are moving to a 4-3 it's imperative that they get pressure from the down lineman. It's too high for Johnathan Martin Or Michael Floyd ,but we still think it's possible they take one of them anyway, especially if Reiff doesn't make it here. They have a history of reaching and do still have a chance to re-sign last years LT Bell . If they do then we think it will probably be Floyd. There are no #1 caliber WR's left unless they want to fork out another butt load of cash for Mike Wallace and give up their top pick. Their failed pursuit of Vincent Jackson could be alleviated by resigning Steve Johnson, but they do need an upgrade on the other side.

11. KC-LUKE KUECHLY - ILB- BC- NFL COMP- SEAN LEE-They have no glaring holes but this fills a need and is good value too. Since they run a base 3-4 and need 2 ILB's Kuechly is a possibility.He can easily move outside when they are in the-4-3. Dontari Poe is a fit to fill their hole at 3-4 NT but his production doesn't match his talent yet, and they already used two top 5 picks on D-lineman who have been solid but haven't lived up to their draft status. The Eric Winston signing fills their RT hole better than Rieff or Martin anyway so that leaves out OT. Melvin Ingram would also be a good value but word is going around that they were happy with Justin Houston's late season production across from Tamba Hali. David Decastro is also a good value but they had solid guard play at both spots last season. If Mark Barron checks out physically their safety play was bad last year. A healthy Eric Berry will fill the back half and Barron could play SS. Don't leave out CB either. This pick is more of a crapshoot than any in the top half of the 1rst round.

12.SEA-CINC-STEPHON GILMORE-CB-S CAR-NFL COMP-TERRELL THOMAS-CB-NYG- Every team needs more corners . Gilmore has been rising up draft boards and the more tape we watch of him the more think he might even go ahead of Kirkpatrick. Seattle already has a lot of big physical CB's and now they need one a bit quicker.After the trade of draft bust Aaron Curry and release of the once great often injured Lofa Tatupu the hawks found stability in David Hawthorne, but they don't seem to be willing to pay him for it. So Luke Kuechly would fit if he fell here, but they may still resign Hawthorne.Robert Gallery was just cut, so David Decastro is an option ,but their is word that they might move last years #1 pick James Carpenter inside to guard.An edge rusher is also a possibility and if Coples fell this far we think he's definitely the pick. 


13. AZ-MELVIN INGRAM-DE/OLB-S. CAR-NFL COMP-TRENT COLE-PHIL- This guy fills a huge need and is a good value. He's even versatile enough to move to DT on 3rd and long , while letting another edge rusher in the game on the outside.
To put it nicely their O-Line is below average and if Rieff falls here I think they grab him. Their center is the only slightly above average player. They re-signed Levi Brown and hopefully will move him to RT where it's hoped he can continue the good play he finally displayed in the 2nd half of last season. Johnathan Martin isn't worth this a high a pick until he gets stronger and learns to play meaner but he's better pass blocker than anyone they have at LT right now, so who knows. Other than QB left tackle is the position that consistently gets over drafted into today's pass happy NFL.They should take David Decastro if he's available , and I bet if Russ Grimm was making the pick they would. Cards fans can hope though. A CB or , or even Kuechly are also possibilities if they are still on the board.

14.DALL-#DRE KIRKPATRICK-CB-ALA-NFL COMP-IKE TAYLOR-PITT- Dallas just signed 2 young veteran guards . Nate Livings is definitively being payed to start and Mackenzie Bernadeau has some starting experience as well. Our guess is they thought David Decastro wouldn't make it to them and decided to plug the holes through free agency. Combined with the 2 guards they drafted last year that probably rules out Decastro. Their interior line play was really bad last year and Tony Romo's elusiveness made them look a lot better than even they looked. They wisely signed Brandon Carr and cut Terence Newman to start on one side. With Mike Jenkins being often injured and a free agent next year, Orlando Scandrick best off as a slot nickle back ,and no other decent veteran CB's on the roster this is their best fit. Stephon Gilmore and Janoris Jenkins might also be in the mix . Kirkpatricks size, upside, and worse case scenario fit as a FS down the road make him the most likely selection though.If Mark Barron checks out medically he has an outside shot to be the pick , but it's high for a guy who's best fit is an in the box safety. They are also a team that might take Trent Richardson just purely based on value if he's available, since Felix Jones is a free agent after the season, and Demarco Murray has a history of injury. Dontari Poe is also a possibility as Jerry Jones loves upside and has reached many a time over the years. If they take Poe they would also be able to finally move Jay Ratliff to 3-4 end ,since he can't hold the point of attack against the double team the way you want a 3-4 NT to do. Poe has the build and ability to clog the middle much better than Jay, and provide pass rush inside.

15. PHIL- DONT'A HIGHTOWER- ILB- ALA- NFL COMP- LAWRENCE TIMMONS-PITT -This is a decent fit for them if Kuechly is off the board. They just traded for Demeco Ryans to play the MLB slot , and may think Jamar Chaney and Casey Mathews might be fine on the strong and weak side LB positions. Kuechly could play any of the three positions and Hightower can play the middle or the strong side. We still think they will take Luke if he falls to them though.They have a long history of trading up in the draft and the extra picks to go up and get him if they don't think he will fall to them. Whether the trade for Ryan is a smoke screen ,or just to protect themselves in case they don't want to trade up we don't know yet. Johnathan Martin , Mike Adams , and Cordy Glenn could all fill their long term RT slot as well if they are available . If they get rid of Asante Samuel a guy comfortable in the slot like Janoris Jenkins is a fit too. At least they would then have a guy who knows how to play the slot. If Mark Barron checks out medically don't rule him out as a strong safety either.



16.NYJ-CORDY GLENN-T/G-GA-NFL COMP- ANDRE WHITWORTH-CINC- ANDRE WHITWORTH-CINC- He would be a better RT and LG than either Wayne Hunter or Matt Slauson as soon as he learned the offense.They supposedly were committing to Mark Sanchez long term and a upgrade on the O-line would surely help.Of course they just brought in Tebow and Glenn would help him too. They really need another edge rusher as well, and If Ingrams here I absolutely think they will grab him, but none of the others are worth this high a pick. . Mark Barron is also a possibility if he checks out well. The Jets lost safety Brodney Pool to Dallas and have been kicking the tires on quite a few others in free agency. Jim Leanord's injury history also makes safety a big need.

17.CINC- #JANORIS JENKINS-CB-N. ALA-NFL COMP-BRENT GRIMES-ATL - Unless they are gifted with Richardson ,and since Decastro and Glenn are gone in this scenario ,that makes CB a top priority. Leon Hall is recovering from an injury, Nate Clements is in his 30's, and who knows what they will get from Pacman Jones. If Jenkins was a choir boy off the field he would probably be the 2nd CB taken. The Bengals have never shied away from character risk players so Janoris Jenkins it is, but usually they like to take those guys when they have fallen far more than their talent warrants. If they do take Jenkins here don't be surprised if they try to low ball him on his contract the way they did with Andre Smith a few years back. Gilmore or Kirkpatrick are safer picks if they fall here .If Richardson does fall out of the top 10 they do have the extra draft picks to go up and get him.

18.SD-WR-MICHAEL FLOYD-WR- NFL COMP-N. DAME- DWAYNE BOWE- KC- There are no #1 caliber WR's left on this team after the departure of Vincent Jackson on free agency. Unless they want to fork out another butt load of cash for Mike Wallace and give up their top pick. If he falls this far I have to believe they grab him. The chargers also have big needs at OT ,Edge rusher, and SS. That means Johnathan Martin, Mike Adams, Cordy Glenn, Mark Barron, and a host of OLB/DE hybrids are all possibles.

19.CHI-JOHNATHAN MARTIN-OT-STAN-NFL COMP- JORDAN GROSS-CAR-He can pass block well enough right now to justify this pick. Pair him with last years 1rst round pick (RT Gabe Carimi)and that would go a long way towards rebuilding their O-line long term.Mike Adams is an outside possibility, but he is a boom or bust type and we wouldn't take him this high.Martin just needs to get stronger and play meaner. If Decastro's here we would obviously take him, but Peter Konz can play guard or center as can incumbent center Robert Garza. So that puts Konz in the mix too.In short they need more people that can keep Jay Cutler upright.The Brandon Marshall trade filled their other big hole. It's a deep D-Line draft so they could also go there but they can get value there in the 2nd round.



20.TENN-COURTNEY UPSHAW-OLB/DE-ALA-ANTHONY SPENCER-DALL-They need D-line help and interior O-line help badly .Since Derrick Morgan has been hurt, and may never be more than a pressure player on the edge now ,pass rusher is a need. Jason Jones left in free agency because they played him out of position at DE last year Upshaw may actually be a better fit as a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 OLB because he wouldn't have the coverage responsibilities. He doesn't have the ceiling of any of the other top edge rusher hybrids ,but his floor is high and he has the base to play the strong side if needed. Interior D-Line is also a possibility.Peter Konz would help at center or guard as well.

21.CINC-*MARK BARRON-S-ALA-NFL COMP-BRIAN DAWKINS-DEN-SS is a need and Barron is worth this pick just based on his play on tape. Chris Crocker and Roy Williams are both past their primes as well. That's not why we think he goes here though. We are thinking he won't be fully healed enough to work out. The Bengals night take him then considering their wealth of picks. They filled their immediate RB need with Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis and we already gave them a CB with their first pick. They could take a run stuffing DT ,although their isn't one quite worth this high a pick, and personal preference would then come into play.

22.CLE-DAVID DECASTRO-OG-STAN-NFL COMP-STEVE HUTCHINSON-MINN-Finally someone takes this plug and play beast of a man . Their right side of the O-line was just bad last year. This guy has the highest floor of anyone in the draft . He is a smooth smart pass protector. A mobile and fierce run blocker and has no real flaws to his game. Depending on whether or not they take Blackmon or Richardson at # 4 they could also take  Doug Martin, Kendall Wright , or Stephen Hill in this spot. 

23.DET- JOSH ROBINSON-CB-UCF-NFL COMP-LEODIS McKELVIN-BUFF - No LT prospect left and they really need a CB. After rising up draft boards the whole post season this small school speedster is most likely to be the 5th CB off the board.Eric Wright was considered their top corner by many despite being repeatedly burnt while gambling in coverage. He got overpaid by Tampa bay and they should be happy he's gone for that kind of cash. Chris Houston and Aaron Berry are decent players ,but that still leaves them 1 or 2 CB's short in the majority of plays in today's NFL. They play GB's pass happy offense twice a year to boot. Konz or Adams might also be a fit if they fall, but Jenkins is the last of the 4 CB's we have with a first round grade. Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure should return from injury and join Kevin Smith to finally give them some semblance of a running game ,so RB's out. If they lose Stephen Tulloch LB is in the mix too. Don't rule out a trade back if the top 4 CB's are off the board.

24.PITT-DONTARI POE-DT-MEMPHIS-NFL COMP-KRIS JENKINS-RET-A freak of nature. A fit, agile, gorilla strong, 350 pound man who can run a sub 5 second forty . Poe is raw but very talented. He fills a need and despite the people in love with his combine workouts we feel no team is going to take him in the top 15 unless they have all their needs filled and can afford to take a risk on his potential.Poe can play the 5 technique if they hold onto Casey Hampton at the NT position for another season ,and would be the long term answer inside when Casey retires or is cut. Donta Hightower would fit at ILB but is also gone in this scenario, so he's out. Their veteran front seven was decimated by injuries last year. A lot of those guys have been cut or retired this off season. Cameron Heyward helps but Ziggy Hood hasn't played well so far at the 5 technique. Marcus Gilbert played well at OT as a rookie and Willie Colon will be back so there is no need to reach for an OT just yet. They need a guard and their isn't one worth this pick in this scenario. Peter Konz would make some sense if he falls here, because he can play guard and slide over to center if Pouncey is injured again.

25.DENV-FLETCHER COX-DT-MISS ST-NFL COMP-DARNELL DOCKETT-AZ- Denver got Peyton but Jeff Saturday didn't come along to help shore up their bad center play. With Peter Konz gone their is no interior lineman left in this center. Mark Barron might also be a possibilty because Brian Dawkins is probably gone ,and they need a bruising safety who can tackle to go with the center fielder type that is Rahim Moore. DT is a big need though and they had almost no interior pass rush last season.Especially since they lost Broderick Bunkley, even though his strength was against the run . Fletcher Cox is the best of the DT pass rushers right now . The more complete DT's Devon Still, Alameda Ta'ama , and Jerel Worthy would be a better fit than Cox since they lost Bunkley though . CB is also a need but we don't see any of the top 4 CB's making this far and Denver is not likely to reach for one here.

26.HOU-*#MIKE ADAMS-OT-OH ST.-NFL COMP- JOE STALEY-SF - Houston inexplicably cut young in his prime stud RT Eric Winston to KC's benefit. Adams is a boom or bust type, but they have lost a lot of players, and this is a big need. Mario Williams is gone but they made the playoffs with Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed on the outside anyway. Interior zone blockers can be found on day 3 of the draft ,but OT's are harder to find. No CB's worth the pick and Dontario Poe is gone in this scenario. It is possible they take a Alameda Ta'Amu or Brandon Thompson to play instead to play NT. WR is a need as well and Rueben Randle is also a good blocker for this run first team. They need someone to take the pressure of Andre Johnson. Add that Johnson is injured too often and they need to start thinking about a future possible #1 WR. Stephen Hill would also be a fit . Kendall Wright would also give an explosive element to their offense and special teams, but we think they go with the larger receiver if they take one.

27.NE(no)-WHITNEY MERCILUS-DE/OLB-ILL-NFL COMP-TAMBA HALI-KC- They wisely ran more 4-3 than 3-4 last year due to the personnel they had. Mercilus is a fit at 3-4 OLB and DE. They lost Mark Anderson to Buffalo and Andre Carter isn't fully healed yet. An edge rusher should be taken with one of their 2 first round picks if they keep both. They signed Brandon Lloyd to a contract but still could go WR here. The smartest thing they could do is Pony up the cash for Mike Wallace and forfeit their first round pick when Pittsburgh can't afford to match it. Wes Welker still doesn't have a long term deal ,Lloyd is in his 30's, Deion Branch is too, and Ocho Cinco was a bust last year. If they don't take an edge rusher or WR with one of their first round picks then Bellichick has outsmarted himself.

28.GB-ANDRE BRANCH-DE-CLEM-NFL COMP-JOHN ABRAHAM-ATL-The best pass rusher available in this scenario , and the best 3-4 OLB/DE hybrid available is the most likely selection. Someone besides Clay Mathews needs to apply pressure to the QB. Mathews sack numbers were down but he still got a ton of pressure on the QB. Taking a pass rusher here would give them pressure on the other side , and mean less double and triple teams to help Mathews sack numbers rise again. Cullen Jenkins pressure was definitely missed and D-lineman somewhere just makes the most sense. So if it's not an edge rusher a DT / 5-technique hybrid would be a fit too.

29.BALT-HARRISON SMITH-S-ND-NFL COMP-KENNY PHILLIPS-NYG  - It's definitely a need considering the age and injury history of Ed Reed  .Personally think it's a bit high for him though. They were probably hoping for Peter Konz.Ben Grubbs signed a big money deal with the saints. C Matt Birk is still playing at high level despite the fact that he will be 36 this off season. If he goes down or when he retires Konz can slide over from guard to center but he is gone here.It's possible Donta Hightower could be the pick if he's still around because he can play inside and outside . We think it's more likely they take the free falling Vontaze Burfict in the 4th or 5th round because his best chance of growing up and playing to his potential is playing with his idol Ray Lewis.Even RT is a possibility if one they like slides here. They may even reach for a O-lineman if they get stuck with this pick.Don't be surprised if they trade back and acquire more picks so Ozzie Newsome can work his magic in the later rounds. 


30.SF-STEPHEN HILL-WR-GA TECH-NFL COMP-BRAYLON EDWARDS-SF-Peyton, Smeyton. Alex Smith re-signed after they lost the Manning lottery. Since they just messed with his fragile confidence I think giving him more weapons is a nice apology. Michael Crabtree is more of a possession WR. They signed Randy Moss as a possible deep threat, but who knows what he has left ,and if he will even try real hard to use it. Newly signed Mario Manningham can be explosive but he is also not a guy who's going to run by the defense. Last season TE Vernon Davis filled that role. They need a game breaker outside and Hill has been rising up draft boards since he blew up the combine. NFL teams remember that Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas came out of the same wacky offense and have payed dividends. He's raw , big ,and explosive .Someones going to take him in the first round. If they end up with Peyton Manning he will have a say in who they take too. If they don't Hill would still be able to help Alex Smith ,and comes out of an offense where WR's who block are important. That's a prerequisite for the 49ers current offense . The best available DB or guard prospect might be possibilities too but all that are left would be reaches.


31.NE-BRANDON THOMPSON-DT-CLEM-NFL COMP-BRODERICK BUNKLEY-DENV- Their D-line is long on the tooth and they definitely need more help stopping the run up front. He would give them that and inject some youth as well. Ta'amu,Worthy, and Still are all DT/5 technique players that might fit as well.They have a tendency to double up on positions too. (Gronkowski, Hernandez in 2010 and Vareen , Ridley in 2011) So they may take Nick Perry or another edge rusher to pile on the problem. Trading back would fit their MO if the price is right.

32.NYG-COBY FLEENER-STAN-NFL COMP-KELLEN WINSLOW JR-TB- A team decimated by injuries somehow won the Superbowl again. Some of those guys were lost early and will return this season. In the postseason however NYG TE's were dropping like flies. They signed Martellus Bennett ,and he is great blocker with the potential to be a big receiving threat, but he's never shown it with any kind of consistency. They lost Manningham at WR but are set on the outside with Nicks and Cruz. What they need is a vertical threat at TE. Fleener is the best of this bunch and we think he will light it up when he finally heals up and does his private workout. He also has the frame too add more weight , get stronger , and improve as a blocker. MLB, DB, and O-line are all needs as well. Since their isn't currently a guy at those positions likely to fit this pick we think they just go with the best player available. Since it's also a need, the rich just get richer






Saturday, March 17, 2012

2012 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

It's still really early but some free agency and a lot the pro days have taken place now .Here is how we see it happening as of today.This is not who we think they should take. It's who we think they will take. The name next to them is their NFL player comparison if they are a hit, followed by the reasons why we are giving them that player. Traded draft picks and the team they received it from are in parentheses. The recently completed trade at #2 is included. It's a whole new ball game now. Analysis and possible scenarios for each team follow.

1. INDY-ANDREW LUCK- STAN- NFL COMP-AARON RODGERS- GB-The next Peyton Manning? Nope ,he's 10 times the athlete but he's got that type of football IQ.He really is that good and is the closest thing to a can't miss I have ever seen from a college QB. The worse thing a scout can say about him is that he has a good arm, but not a great one.He can make every NFL throw . Indy fans better hope Jim Irsay lets the football people run the show and keep the rebuilding process going in the right way, instead of screwing up the franchise trying to run it himself. Lets not forget Irsay tried to do it all before he hired the recently fired Bill Polian . Once Polian took over the football side of things he selected Manning and built that franchise around him. Indy has been blessed to have 2 once a decade QB's fall in their laps in a row. You would have to actively work at it to screw this up.

2. WASH-(stl)- ROBERT GRIFFIN III-BAYLOR-NFL COM- MIKE VICK-PHIL-Good GOD! They payed a lot for him, but if anyone else besides Luck is worth it , this is the kid. In every other year back to 1998 he would be our slam dunk as the #1 overall pick, except for 2 guys with the last name Manning.That's only because you never pass up a sure thing for a higher upside. Model citizen, leader, and athlete. His arm and his personality are even better than Lucks to be the face of a franchise. Best deep ball in the draft and the Shannahan offense fits him to to a tee. Expect a lot of big plays on sprint outs and waggles skins fans.

3. MINN-MATT KALIL-OT-USC- NFL COMP-JAKE LONG-MIA-Christian Ponder is doing back flips and will probably pick him up at the airport with a hug so long it gets uncomfortable. Their OT play was atrocious last year and moving Charles Johnson inside where he belongs will help alleviate some of the sting of cutting future HOFer Steve Hutchinson. If AP isn't healed up when the season starts Kalil will have his work cut out for him, because they will have to pass a lot. We think Kalil is up to the challenge. Upside is just a smidgen less than Tyron Smith from last year but he's a more polished player coming out of college and should hold down the job for 8-12 years

4. CLE-RYAN TANNEHILL-QB TEX A & M-NFL COMP-ALEX SMITH-SF-He's comparable to Luck athletically (with a stronger arm),but is about a season and a half behind as a QB, and it is hard to know where he will end up. If he is a hit this draft could end up being heralded a QB draft as good as 2004(Eli, Rivers, Big Ben).Cleveland still isn't set at QB,and even as raw as Tannehill is , they probably would start him over Colt McCoy as soon as he learns the offense. It's a risk. I think his best chance to achieve his vast potential is to sit at least a season, but I doubt it happens. Another season to see how Colt McCoy does if they gave him a right side of an O-line and better weapons would be my choice .Their pursuit of RG3 and Matt Flynn makes me think they are ready to move on from McCoy though.Trent Richardson should be the pick based on value and need, but even a RB as special as Richardson might not get the respect his talent deserves these days.

5. TB-MORRIS CLAIBORNE-CB/KR-LSU-NFL COMP-CHAMP BAILEY-DENV-They finally spent a lot of money in free agency and have filled some big holes. Vincent Jackson takes care of receiver as a high priority. They signed the best Guard in football in Carl Nicks. They also overpayed gambling often injured CB Eric Wright to a big deal. That leaves RT,RB, and CB as major needs. #5 is probably too high For Riley Reiff. Ronde Barber is really old and hasn't even committed to coming back. Aqib Talib is one legal problem away from a suspension or jail. This draft has 8 elite players and they would be wise to take one. You need 3 or 4 CB's to play in the NFL now, so Claiboirne it is. He plays CB like a WR and should be a day 1 starter.If Claiborne's gone Trent Richardson is a 3 down back and worth this pick. Especially since Legarrette Blount showed last year he is a fumbler ,a no show in the passing game, and doesn't know how to use his power till he gets to the 2nd level. They may give him another year to develop though.

6. STL-JUSTIN BLACKMON-WR- OK. ST.-NFL COMP- HAKEEM NICKS- NYG- It should be OT or WR. They had been linked to RT Eric Winston in free agency which makes me think they still believe Roger Saffold is capable of playing LT. I guess it's possible as he is still only 2 years in. Blackmon is a complete WR in every way except elite speed ,but he sure has run away from a lot of people on tape. With the haul they got from Washington, Jeff Fisher as head coach, and a healthy Bradford, expect this team to build safely and be a contender in 2 years.Claiborne is also a good fit if Blackmon is gone. If both are gone and they want value for their pick Steven Jackson has a lot of miles on his tires and has been hurt a lot. So Trent Ricahrdson is an outside possibility. They have so many needs that if Blackmon and Claiborne are gone they may just trade back.

7. JAX-QUINTON COPLES-DE/DT-NC-NFL COMP- JULIUS PEPPERS-CHI-Luckily they resigned Jeremy Mincey but they need 2 starting caliber DE's and Aaron Kampmann is just about done .I would take Ingram but my guess is they will want more size. If Coples plays the way he's capable of this is a steal. If Denver signs Manning and trades Tebow for Gabbert this could easily change to Reiff to play RT.Eben Britton didn't play too well at RT and was moved to guard last we heard. They could address DE later in a draft deep for it.If by some miracle Justin Blackmon is here ,it's a lock . Laurent Robinson isn't a # 1 WR, but he he can be a solid 2 or good 3 if he's healthy.Failing that they are another team that might reach for Michael Floyd.Taking Dre Kirkpatrick or trading back might also be in the mix.

8.#MIA-RILEY REIFF-OT-IOWA-NFL COMP-CHAD CLIFTON-GB- They lost out on Manning and might have screwed the pooch with Flynn by chasing Peyton. If Cleveland does take Tannehill then they need to just bite the bullet and go with Matt Moore this season. He actually played better than I expected. Either way they had bad RT play last season from Mark Columbo. Vernon Carey's excellent career is on the downside and he is just an average guard now and can't move back outside. If they pull it out with Flynn this pick still makes the most sense.Kuechly would fit if Reiff is gone. Michael Floyd has a outside shot to go here because they traded Brandon Marshall and don't have a number one WR anymore. Melvin Ingram or another edge rusher is also a possibility.

9. CAR-DT-MICHAEL BROCKERS-DT-LSU-NFL COMP-JOHN HENDERSON-OAK- I would walk to the podium as soon as I could and take Decastro if he's there. It's hard to imagine him being picked already because people don't take guards in the top half of the 1rst round. He's special and Carolina has a big need there. Luke Kuechly would make sense considering the injury histories of Jon Beason and Thomas Davis ,but you would need to move Beason out of the middle to get the best use out of Luke and that's not likely. Plus MLB isn't seen as a top 10 pick position either. WR Michael Floyd's boom or bust potential would make them a team that takes a huge risk in back to back years, but Newton sure looks likes like a hit so far.After having no #1 in 2009 and 2010 they really need to replenish the roster with some safe players. They need to stop the run and Brockers already does that like a stud. He's only going to get better as a pass rusher and will probably keep getting stronger. He's not an elite athlete but he has a elite frame, and a good motor. High floor guy that fills a big need.

10. BUFF-WR-MICHAEL FLOYD-WR- NFL COMP-N. DAME- DWAYNE BOWE- KC- Bufallo is in win now mode, evidenced by the the sick contract they just gave Mario Williams. It's too high for Johnathan Martin Or Michael Floyd but we still think they take one of them anyway. The have a history of reaching and still have a chance to re-sign last years LT Demetrious Bell. There are no #1 caliber WR's left unless they want to fork out another butt load of cash for Mike Wallace and give up their top pick. Their failed pursuit of Vincent Jackson makes this even more likely to us.

11. KC-MELVIN INGRAM-DE/OLB-S. CAR-NFL COMP-TRENT COLE-PHIL- This guy fills a huge need , would rescue Tamba Hali from some double teams and even the occasional triple team. He's even versatile enough to move to DT on 3rd and long and let another edge rusher join Hali on the outside. Dontari Poe is a fit to fill their hole at 3-4 NT but his production doesn't match his talent yet, and they already used two top 5 picks on D-lineman who have been solid but haven't up to their draft status. The Eric Winston signing fills their RT hole better than Rieff or Martin anyway.Since they run a base 3-4 and need 2 ILB's Kuechly is also a possibility.He can easily move outside when they are in the-4-3.

12. SEA-LUKE KUECHLY - ILB- BC- NFL COMP- SEAN LEE- DALL-After the trade of draft bust Aaron Curry and release of the once great often injured Lofa Tatupu the hawks found stability in David Hawthorne the last couple of years. However, despite a high level of production they don't seem to be willing to pay him the way he wants. Kuechly is a perfect fit and won't cost as much. He's a do it all 3 down LB who can QB a defense for a long time.They should take David Decastro if Hawthorne returns. They cut Robert Gallery and need a guard badly.An edge rusher is also a possibilty.

13. AZ-JOHNATHAN MARTIN-OT-STAN-NFL COMP- JORDAN GROSS-CAR- To put it nicely their O-Line is below average. Their center is the only slightly above average player. They re-signed Levi Brown and hopefully will move him to RT where it's hoped he can continue the good play he finally displayed in the 2nd half of last season. He's a much better run than pass blocker anyway ,and shouldn't be protecting a blindside. Martin isn't worth this a high a pick until he gets stronger and learns to play meaner but he's better than anyone they have at LT. Other than QB left tackle is the position that consistently gets over drafted into today's pass happy NFL.They should take David Decastro and I bet if Russ Grimm was making the pick they would. Cards fans can hope though. A CB or pass rusher , or even Kuechly are also possibilities if the are still on the board.

14.DALL-#DRE KIRKPATRICK-CB-ALA-NFL COMP-IKE TAYLOR-PITT- Dallas just signed 2 young veteran guards . Nate Livings is definitively being payed to start and Mackenzie Bernadeau has some starting experience as well. Our guess is they thought David Decastro wouldn't make it to them and decided to plug the holes through free agency. Combined with the 2 guards they drafted last year that probably rules out Decastro. Their interior line play was really bad last year and Tony Romo's elusiveness made them look a lot better than even they looked. They wisely signed Brandon Carr and cut Terence Newman to start on one side. With Mike Jenkins being often injured and a free agent next year, Orlando Scandrick best off as a slot nickle back ,and no other decent veteran CB's on the roster this is their best fit. Stephon Gilmore and Janoris Jenkins might also be in the mix . Kirkpatricks size, upside, and worse case scenario fit as a FS down the road make him the most likely selection though.If Mark Barron checks out medically he has an outside shot to be the pick , but it's high for a guy who's best fit is an in the box safety. They are also a team that might take Trent Richardson just purely based on value, since Felix Jones is a free agent after the season, and Demarco Murray has a history of injury. Dontari Poe is also a possibility as Jerry Jones loves upside. If the take Poe they would also be able to finally move Jay Ratliff to 3-4 end ,since he can't hold the point of attack against the double team the way you want a 3-4 NT to do. Poe does has the build and ability to clog the middle much better than Jay, and provide pass rush inside.

15.PHIL- DONT'A HIGHTOWER- ILB- ALA- NFL COMP- LAWRENCE TIMMONS-PITT - They really want and need Luke Kuechly. They have a long history of trading up in the draft and the extra picks to go up and get him if they think he won't fall to them. Hightower is a decent consolation prize with the potential to be worth this pick, but they would be better off trading up for Luke. Johnathan Martin , Mike Adams , and Cordy Glenn could all fill their long term RT slot as well. If they get rid of Asante Samuel a guy comfortable in the slot like Janoris Jenkins is a fit too. At least they would then have a guy who knows how to play the slot. If Mark Barron checks out medically don't rule him out as a strong safety either.

16.NYJ-CORDY GLENN-T/G-GA-NFL COMP- ANDRE WHITWORTH-CINC- He would be a better RT than Wayne Hunter on day 1, and a better LG than Matt Slauson as well. With them supposedly committing to Mark Sanchez long term an upgrade on the O-line would surely help. WR is an option for the same reasons and Michael Floyd could be a viable option. They really need another edge rusher as well. Another team that might take Trent Richardson just purely based on value,but Shonn Greene is a solid back and they can get another good back much later if they need one.Mark Barron is also a possibility if he checks out medically and works out well. The Jets lost safety Brodney Pool to Dallas and have been kicking the tires on quite a few others in free agency.Jim Leanord has been hurt a lot the last 2 years as well. An edge rusher is their biggest need and this is the draft to find a guy who can play 3-4 OLB/DE , but their should be some good ones left later on.

17.CINC(oak)-TRENT RICHARDSON-RB-ALA-NFL COMP-RICKY WILLIAMS-BALT-this is a very possible dream scenario where a team gets a elite talent after the middle of the 1rst round at a position of need , even though they are run by a penny pinching dictator-like owner. Cedric Benson is essentially done as a starting tailback. He has too many miles on his tires ,is slow ,and fumbles too much. Basically he can be a short yardage back from now on. Bernard Scott has not lived up to his talent yet and he's not a bell cow 3 down back anyway. Guard and CB are also high priority needs. So Stephon Gilmore , Janoris Jenkins, David Decastro, and Cordy Glenn are all possibilities if they are available.

18.SD-DAVID DECASTRO-OG-STAN-NFL COMP-STEVE HUTCHINSON-MINN-Finally someone takes this plug and play beast of a man . Kris Deilman has retried ,and Decastro not only provides excellent value ,he fills a need. A complete player that won't cost a lot, will start from day 1, and is a solid citizen. GM AJ Smith needs to be cautious because his job is on the line this year and this pick is safe as houses. If this scenario comes to pass and Smith doesn't draft him then he definitively should be fired. The chargers also have big needs at OT ,Edge rusher, and SS. That means Johnathan Martin, Mike Adams, Cordy Glenn, Mark Barron, and a host of OLB/DE hybrids are all possibles.


19.CHI-*#MIKE ADAMS-OT-OH ST.-NFL COMP-JOE STALEY-SF- Let me start by saying I think they would better off drafting Cordy Glenn if he's there and moving last years 1rst round pick Gabe Carimi to LT. In this scenario Mike Adams fits a big need and seems to be rising up draft boards because of potential and position scarcity. Adams is a boom or bust type and we wouldn't take him this high. If Decastro's here we would obviously take him, but Peter Konz can play guard or center as can incumbent center Robert Garza. In short they need more people that can keep Jay Cutler upright.The Brandon Marshall trade filled their other big hole. It's a deep D-Line draft so they could also go there .Mark Barron would also be a fit at safety if he checks out medically , works out well, and starts making his way back up draft boards .

20.TENN-COURTNEY UPSHAW-OLB/DE-ALA-ANTHONY SPENCER-DALL-They need D-line help and interior O-line help badly . If they sign Manning expect them to take the top interior O-Lineman available.Since Derrick Morgan has been hurt, and may never be more than a pressure player on the edge now ,pass rusher is a need.Jason Jones is likely to leave in free agency because they played him out of position at DE last year . This is their biggest need without Peyton. Upshaw may actually be a better fit as 4-3 DE than a 3-4 OLB because he wouldn't have the coverage responsibilities. He doesn't have the ceiling of any of the other top edge rusher hybrids but his floor is high. Interior D-Line is also a possibility.

21.CINC-STEPHON GILMORE-CB-S CAR-NFL COMP-TERRELL THOMAS-CB-NYG- If they are gifted with Richardson at # 17 ,and since Decastro and Glenn are gone in this scenario ,that makes CB a top priority. The bengals have never shied away from character risk players so Janoris Jenkins is also in the mix, but usually they like to take those guys when they have fallen far more than their talent warrants. If they do take Jenkins here don't be surprised if they try to low ball him on his contract the way they did with Andre Smith a few years back. Gilmore is a safer pick and can join Leon Hall to form a solid CB duo.

22.CLE-DONTARI POE-DT-MEMPHIS-NFL COMP-KRIS JENKINS-RET-A freak of nature. A fit, agile, gorilla strong, 350 pound man who can run a sub 5 second forty . Poe is raw but very talented. He fills a need and despite the people in love with his combine workouts we feel no team is going to take him in the top 15 unless they have all their needs filled and can afford to take a risk on his potential.Cleveland isn't winning it this year and can afford to develop him.On tape he flashes greatness but his techniques are sloppy and lacks awareness. He's a project with a huge upside but he may take awhile to reach his potential. We don't see him as a boom or bust type because he had a solid motor on tape and is a good kid.He is ideally a fit at 3-4 NT and Cleveland runs a 4-3 but his kind of talent plays on every team. He just needs to take to coaching, listen to the veterans around him, and study his craft.

23.DET-#JANORIS JENKINS-CB-N. ALA-NFL COMP-BRENT GRIMES-ATL- No LT prospect left and they really need a CB. Eric Wright was considered their top corner by many despite being repeatedly burnt while gambling in coverage. He got overpaid by Tampa bay and they should be happy he's gone for that kind of cash. Chris Houston and Aaron Berry are solid players ,but that still leaves them 1 or 2 CB's short in the majority of plays in today's NFL. They play GB's pass happy offense twice a year to boot. If Jenkins was a choir boy off the field he would probably be the 2nd CB taken. This late he's well worth the risk. Konz or Adams might also be a fit if they fall, but Jenkins is the last of the 4 CB's we have with a first round grade.Javid Best and Mikel Leshoure should return from injury and join Kevin Smith to finally give them some semblance of a running game ,so RB's out. If they lose Stephen Tulloch LB is in the mix too.Wouldn't be shocked if they traded back if the top 4 CB's are gone though.

24.PITT-ALAMEDA TA'AMU-DT-WASH-NFL COMP- SIONE POUHA-NYJ- They were probably hoping for Dontari Poe ,but Ta'amu is better player right now despite lacking the same upside.Ta'amu can play the 5 technique if they hold onto Casey Hampton at the NT position for another season ,and would be the long term answer inside when Casey retires or is cut. Donta Hightower is also gone in this scenario so he's out. Their veteran front seven was decimated by injuries last year. A lot of those guys have been cut or retired this off season. Cameron Heyward helps but Ziggy Hood hasn't played well so far at the 5 technique. Marcus Gilbert played well at OT as a rookie and Willie Colon will be back so there is no need to reach for an OT just yet. They need a guard and their isn't one worth this pick in this scenario. Peter Konz would make some sense because he can play guard and slide over to center if Pouncey is injured again.

25.DENV-FLETCHER COX-DT-MISS ST-NFL COMP-DARNELL DOCKETT-AZ-If Denver gets Peyton then Jeff Saturday will help shore up their bad center play. Mark Barron might also be a possibilty because Brian Dawkins is probably gone ,and they need a bruising safety who can tackle to go with the center fielder type that is Rahim Moore. DT is a big need though. They especially need a inside pass rusher. Broderick Bunkley is a great run stuffer but doesn't give much more than occasional pressure pushing the pocket . He still hadn't re-signed as of this writing either. Fletcher Cox is the best of the DT pass rushers right now and they can hope that Bunkley's ability to stay low and to play the run rubs off on him. The more complete DT's Devon Still, Alameda Ta'ama , and Jerel Worthy would fit better than Cox if they lose Bunkley . CB is also a need but we don't see any of the top 4 CB's making this far and Denver is not likely to reach for one here.

26.HOU-RUEBEN RANDLE-WR-LSU-NFL COMP-JORDY NELSON-GB- Houston inexplicably cut young in his prime stud RT Eric Winston to KC's benefit. It's unlikely their will be a RT prospect available here. Mario Williams is gone but they made the playoffs with Connor Barwin and Broooks Reed on the outside anyway. Interior zone blockers can be found on day 3 of the draft. No CB's worth the pick and Dontario Poe is gone in this scenario. It is possible they take a Alameda Ta'Amu or Brandon Thompson to play NT. WR is a need as well and Randle is also a good blocker for this run first team. They need someone to take the pressure of Andre Johnson. Add that Johnson is injured too often and they need to start thinking about a future possible #1 WR. Stephen Hill would also be a fit . Kendall Wright would also give an explosive element to their offense and special teams, but we think they go with the larger receiver here.

27.NE(no)-WHITNEY MERCILUS-DE/OLB-ILL-NFL COMP-TAMBA HALI-KC- They wisely ran more 4-3 than 3-4 last year due to the personnel they had. Mercilus is a fit at 3-4 OLB and DE. One of the edge rushers should be taken with one of their 2 first round picks if they keep both. They signed Brandon Lloyd to a contract but still could go WR here. The smartest thing they could do is Pony up the cash for Mike Wallace and forfeit their first round pick when Pittsburgh can't afford to match it. Wes Welker still doesn't have a long term deal,Lloyd is in his 30's, Deion Branch is too, and Ocho Cinco was a bust last year. If they don't take an edge rusher or WR with one of their first round picks then Bellichick has outsmarted himself.

28.GB-ANDRE BRANCH-DE-CLEM-NFL COMP-JOHN ABRAHAM-ATL-The best pass rusher available in this scenario , and the best 3-4 OLB/DE hybrid available is the most likely selection. Someone besides Clay Mathews needs to apply pressure to the QB. Mathews sack numbers were down but he still got a ton of pressure on the QB. Taking a pass rusher here would give them pressure on the other side , and mean less double and triple teams to help Mathews sack numbers rise again. Cullen Jenkins pressure was definitely missed and D-lineman somewhere just makes the most sense. So if it's not an edge rusher a DT / 5-technique hybrid would be a fit too.

29.BALT- PETER KONZ-C-WISC.-NFL COMP-MATT BIRK-BALT -LG Ben Grubbs signed a big money deal with the saints. C Matt Birk is still playing at high level despite the fact that he will be 36 this season. If he goes down or when he retires Konz can slide over from guard to center. Since he reminds us of Birk he will have the perfect mentor in the league. Edge rusher is also in play but don't be surprised if they trade back and acquire more picks so Ozzie Newsome can work his magic in the later rounds.It's possible Donta Hightower could be the pick if he's still around because he can play inside and outside. We think it's more likely they take the free falling Vontaze Burfict in the 4th or 5th round because his best chance of growing up and playing to his potential is playing with his idol Ray Lewis.


30.SF-STEPHEN HILL-WR-GA TECH-NFL COMP-BRAYLON EDWARDS-SF-Michael Crabtree is more of a possession WR. They signed Randy Moss as a possible deep threat, but who knows what he has left ,and if he will even try real hard to use it. Newly signed Mario Manningham can be explosive but he is also not a guy who's going to run by the defense. Last season TE Vernon Davis filled that role. They need a game breaker outside and Hill has been rising up draft boards since he blew up the combine. NFL teams remember that Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas came out of the same wacky offense and have payed dividends. He's raw , big ,and explosive .Someones going to take him in the first round. If they end up with Peyton Manning he will have a say in who they take too. If they don't Hill would still be able to help Alex Smith ,and comes out of an offense where WR's who block are important. That's a prerequisite for the 49ers current offense . The best available DB or guard prospect might make sense too.

31.NE-*MARK BARRON-S-ALA-NFL COMP-BRIAN DAWKINS-DEN- Everything we said about the # 27 pick applies here , so it could be a WR or edge rusher if they haven't already taken one. They are known for having 2 1rst round picks and trading out of the first round with one of them. We think that might happen here with a team trading up for a QB or a guy who has already fallen too far. If they keep the pick Barron makes a lot of sense. They need a safety and Bellichicks's ties to Nick Saban are well known. Add that Barron might be a injury fear bargain and that smells like a patriot pick (Gronkowski, Cannon, Mallet, etc.) .He either might not be able to work out at all ,or not workout up to his standards if he isn't fully healthy when a workout happens . Then he would still be a value pick this late based on what he does on tape.

32.NYG-COBY FLEENER-STAN-NFL COMP-KELLEN WINSLOW JR-TB- A team decimated by injuries somehow won the Superbowl again. Some of those guys were lost early and will return this season. In the postseason however NYG TE's were dropping like flies. They lost Manningham at WR but are set on the outside with Nicks and Cruz. What they need is a vertical threat at TE. Fleener is the best of this bunch and we think he will light it up when he finally heals up and does his private workout. He also has the frame too add more weight , get stronger , and improve as a blocker. MLB, DB, and O-line are all needs as well. Since their isn't currently a guy at the positions likely to fit this pick we think they just go with the best player available. Since it's also a need, the rich just get richer.

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